Exploring Representational Disparities Between Multilingual and Bilingual Translation Models

Neha Verma, Kenton Murray, Kevin Duh

Multilingual machine translation has proven immensely useful for low-resource and zero-shot language pairs. However, language pairs in multilingual models sometimes see worse performance than in bilingual models, especially when translating in a one-to-many setting. To understand why, we examine the geometric differences in the representations from bilingual models versus those from one-to-many multilingual models. Specifically, we evaluate the isotropy of the representations, to measure how well they utilize the dimensions in their underlying vector space. Using the same evaluation data in both models, we find that multilingual model decoder representations tend to be less isotropic than bilingual model decoder representations. Additionally, we show that much of the anisotropy in multilingual decoder representations can be attributed to modeling language-specific information, therefore limiting remaining representational capacity.

Knowledge Graph



Sign up or login to leave a comment